Varner Completes First Round At Regional
May 20, 2010
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - East Carolina sophomore Harold Varner shot one-over-par 71 in the opening round of the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Golf Regional Thursday at The Course at Yale.
Making his NCAA debut, Varner finds himself in a tie for 27th place after the opening 18 holes of the three-day event. The top five teams and top individual not part of an advancing team will quality for the 2010 NCAA Division I National Championships, scheduled for June 1-6 on the Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tenn.
University of Texas freshman Cody Gribble, ranked 32nd in the country, leads the pack at six-under. He was four-under on the front side and two-under on the back to finish at 64, which tied the collegiate course record established by Hartford's Tim Petrovic in 1987.
Seventh-ranked Texas holds the team lead after firing a six-under 274, three shots better than Penn State (277) and Kent State (277). East Tennessee State (278) was the only other school under-par on Yale's famous venue.
Starting on the first tee of the 6,749-yard, par-70 layout, Varner opened the tournament with back-to-back pars before moving to two-under with consecutive birdies on the par-four third and fourth holes. He would remain two-under until he birdied the par-four seven to drop to three-under. Varner finished the front nine at three-under as he would bogey the 406-yard eight, but birdie the par-three nine.
"Harold played flawlessly on the front nine," Pirate head coach Press McPhaul said. "He hit the ball well and putted well. On the back nine he didn't play as well. The back nine is a little tougher, plus the wind picked up and he made a few errors which cost him a low score."
Varner bogeyed four of the first six holes on the back nine to fall to one-over. He then birdied 16 and 17 to improve to one-under. Varner closed out his round with a double-bogey on 18.
"He bogeyed the first two holes on the back nine and that seemed to affect him the rest of the afternoon," McPhaul said. "He's got 36 holes to make up the difference and he has the ability to do that. If he will minimize his errors and make a few more putts, he will put himself in position to qualify for the national championships which is why he is here."
Varner is scheduled to begin second-round action Friday at 9:50 a.m. as he will tee off with Clark Granum of Columbia University and Carter Rufe of Lafayette College from the No. 10 tee as part of the morning wave of golfers.